I’m happy to have had such a tremendous response to my invitation to pass along your coronavirus questions to me!
I have compiled all your questions in date order and will address them over a series of several blogs.
To preserve privacy, I will not include anyone’s name or other identifying information, but will show your question or an excerpt therefrom.
I will also number them in each installment, as some questions are very similar and I can just refer to the number where I already covered a particular issue.
1) Here in Ontario we are being urged and advised to get a flu shot if we have not gotten one. What are your thoughts?
It is being incorrectly reported by the media that getting a flu shot will somehow protect against coronavirus. That is completely false…and actually a flu shot may make you MORE susceptible to coronavirus.
A study published in the journal Vaccine in January 2020 concluded, “…vaccination may increase the risk of other respiratory viruses, a phenomenon known as vaccine interference.”
In other words, your immune system is already deranged by the flu vaccine so that it will not respond normally to a secondary challenge, such as coronavirus.
2) How long can the virus survive on a non-living surface?
Anywhere from three hours to three days.
A Journal of Hospital Infection study reported that human coronaviruses could be "efficiently inactivated" on surfaces within one minute if they're cleaned with solutions containing 62% to 71% ethanol alcohol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide, or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite.
Simply put, disinfectant wipes or cleaners will do the job.
3a) If I had pneumonia vaccine before, would it protect me from coronavirus?
No—see number 1 above. In addition, a vaccine can only “protect” (and I use that term VERY loosely) against the virus that is in the vaccine. It cannot magically create antibodies to another unrelated virus.
3b) Do people with coronavirus get well and how soon?
Absolutely! Most people (upwards of 96%+) get well with no problems. The symptoms of coronavirus are very similar to the common cold, and most people get well within a week or so—just like with a cold.
When it can become a concern is if it spreads to the lower respiratory tract because it can cause pneumonia. This is an issue especially in the elderly, people with heart disease, or people with weakened immune systems.
3c) Are children's chance of having it far from happening?
While children can contract the virus, reportedly very few have. The vast majority of the cases are in people over 50. It is thought that since children have fewer chronic diseases (like heart disease or cancer) and are less likely to be immune-challenged, this is why there are so few cases.
4) I have a trip to Florida coming up and I am wondering if I should cancel seeing we will be visiting my husband’s Mom who is 91, and being in two airports and a plane could pose a threat to her health especially since the symptoms don’t show up for two weeks.
Currently experts are advising people to bring disinfectant wipes onto airplanes and wipe down your entire seat area, as well as wash your hands frequently while in the airport.
And prevention is your best bet to make sure you don’t get the virus to begin with (and pass it to relatives). Eat healthy, get good rest, take probiotics and a multi-vitamin, and keep your stress low.
5) On February 29, a town car picked me up for work. The driver was sniffling and coughing for the entire trip which was approximately 15 minutes. Within 12 hours after getting out of his car, I started to get flu-like symptoms: a slight cough, a low-grade fever, shortness of breath and general malaise. Thought it may be a common flu/cold, however, it has now been almost two weeks, and I still have symptoms. I called my PCP who referred me to his affiliated hospital's hotline for COVID-19 testing and they told me that since it is unsure that the person has COVID-19, that I should self-quarantine. Any suggestions on how to proceed?
That depends on whether your symptoms have improved, worsened or are about the same. If you are experiencing improvement, whether you have coronavirus or not, that’s a sign you’re healing. If you still have symptoms and/or they are worsening, it would be in your best interest to insist on getting tested for the flu and coronavirus, regardless of whether or not you are sure what the driver had. Then you and your doctor will know how to proceed with treatment.
6) My question is do we know how many people have actually had the Coronavirus and are now recovered and what was the effect of the virus on them?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of this writing there have been 164,837 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 6,470 deaths. While that appears to be a 3.9% death rate, it is inflated because the true number of coronavirus cases is unknown—there may be hundreds of thousands more that were simply not confirmed by testing.
Also, see number 3b. above.
7) Is good or not to take more vitamin C these days?
It’s absolutely a good idea to take extra vitamin C! Most people can tolerate 2,000 – 3,000 mg. I personally take 3,000 mg a day during this time of year.
8) Hello, I have been out of the hospital for about a month now. I had pneumonia and heart failure. I am 80 years old and feeling ok now. I want to go back to church but have hesitated because of the virus. My children do not want me to go back yet. However, I miss being there, especially since I am one of the Pastors. What is the smart thing to do in my case? This Sunday is our 30th anniversary and I want to be there for it.
Considering your recent health history, and how those factors (pneumonia, heart condition) are emerging as high risks with coronavirus, erring on the side of caution is wise. Check with your doctor as well.
9) With all the experts in the world how come that they cannot produce a vaccine to stop this virus?
Several companies are working on a vaccine for coronavirus, but there’s no guarantee that it will be ready before the end of the current outbreak. Just as with any drug, the development and testing processes may take some time—current estimates for a coronavirus vaccine are 18 months to two years.
10) If I got the virus how long until I will be clear and can it come back again?
See number 3b. above.
Also, most sources I’ve consulted are saying that people who have gotten the new coronavirus and recovered can get it again in the future— the body does not necessarily become immune after infection.
When you think about it, that’s similar to the common cold. Having a cold does not mean you won’t get another one.
11) On the news last night, all of a sudden diarrhea is a symptom. Up till now, it's only been cough, fever, fatigue and breathlessness as it is deemed a pulmonary virus. So, is diarrhea now a symptom??
Diarrhea can be a symptom, but not a common one. It has been reported in only about 4% of the cases.
12) I sometimes order from Amazon, other. Merchandise (clothing) labeled Made in China is still in bags. Don’t know if it’s safe to wear them.
According to the CDC, there is no evidence to support transmission of coronavirus associated with imported goods, and none of the cases in the US are linked to imported goods. The virus is typically spread via respiratory droplets (cough, sneeze, etc.) However, they recommend washing your hands (and clothing that you purchase) after opening the package.
13a) What I haven't heard yet is if you do get it can you get it again or are you immune?
See number 10 above.
13b) I have Hashimoto's. Is autoimmune considered immuno-compromised?
Yes, in my professional opinion it is and here’s why. Autoimmunity is evidence of an immune system that is hyper-sensitive and reacting where, when and how it shouldn’t. It is not unreasonable to suspect that the immune system may be overtaxed in this process, and thus less able to defend the body against viruses and infections.
14) Do you think there will be any cure for this virus in future?
There are really no “cures” for viruses. They may be more prevalent at certain times than others, but they generally never completely go away.
15) Does it spread more than the regular flu?
The jury is still out on that. It appears to spread easily, but the flu is still considered the bigger threat. Time will tell whether coronavirus will outdo the flu in terms of number of infections.
That’s it for today! More will follow this week.
To your health,
The information in our articles are NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and are not intended as medical advice.